In my book it is a camcorder that
1) records to DV or HDV format;
2) has easy to get to manual controls on the outside of the camcorder (including audio gain, zoom, aperture, focus, white balance, and others);
3) has a mic jack - preferably XLR connectors - for audio-in;
4) has a lens diameter larger than 45mm or so...
After this, all the other stuff falls into place.
The Canon HV20/HV30/HV40 and Sony HDR-HC9 do not have #2 or #4. #3 is accomplished with an XLR adapter like those from juicedLink or BeachTek.
All of the following are outside your budget:
The Canon GL2, Sony DCR-VX2100, HDR-FX1 (replaced by the HDR-FX1000) need an XLR adapter to meet #3.
The Sony HVR-A1 does not meet #4 and the zoom and focus ring is shared.
The Sony HVR-HD1000U does not meet #4 and requires an XLR adapter to meet #3.
The Canon XHA1, Sony HVR-V1U, Z5U, Z7U and Z1U, Panasonic AG-DVX100 series and AG-HDX200 series meet all the requirements but are well outside your budget.
Hi, my name is Zac, and I am looking for a low cost pro quality camera for independent film use. I don't have alot of cash to hand out so i was looking in the $ 1,000 range? I am kinda new to this whole thing but looking foward to learning. The higher the quality the better. Also I would prefer if it was not one of those tiny little handhelds, but if that is whats best than I'm all for it.
By the way, any advice on sound? I currently am using just the internal camera mike but it is a real pain getting rid of the "camera noise" in editing. So any advice here would be welcome.
P.S. I use Vegas Movie Studio PE 9.0 to do the editing. If that helps.